[Rushtalk] Europeans Fear Refugees Will Bring Terrorism, Take Jobs: Study

Carl Spitzer cwsiv at juno.com
Mon Jul 18 20:49:31 MDT 2016

Europeans Fear Refugees Will Bring Terrorism, Take Jobs: Study

Hungary and Poland hold some of the most negative views of Muslims and

By Lucy Westcott  On 7/11/16 at 11:00 PM 

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Europe’s ongoing refugee crisis and the threat of terrorism are “very
much related” in the minds of many on the continent, according to a new
study from the Pew Research Center.

The organization, which is based in Washington, D.C., interviewed more
than 11,000 people in May and June across 10 European countries—Hungary,
Poland, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Greece, the U.K.,
France and Spain—many of which were at the epicenter of the refugee
crisis when it was at its height last year. (Greece and Italy continue
to be the first point of entry into Europe for many refugees and
migrants fleeing violence and persecution in the Middle East and

In eight of the nations that Pew surveyed, more than 50 percent of
respondents said they believed the resettlement of refugees in their
countries would increase the likelihood of terrorism. That sentiment was
strongest in Hungary, where 76 percent of people said they believed
terrorism would increase with an influx of refugees. Last year, the
country built a 100-mile razor-wire border fence to discourage refugees
from entering the country, which was along the migrant route to Northern

More than 80 percent of people surveyed in Hungary said they believed
“refugees are a burden on our country because they take our jobs and
social benefits,” a sentiment shared by 46 percent of people in the U.K.
and 72 percent in Greece. The lowest percentage, 32 percent, was in
Germany, which received the highest number of asylum seekers in 2015 but
at the beginning of this year was rocked when groups of North African
men committed a wave of sexual assaults against women in Cologne.

The survey was carried out before the June 24 Brexit referendum, which
saw the U.K. vote to leave the European Union, and the June 28 attack on
Istanbul's Atatürk airport that killed at least 44 people.  

More than a million refugees and migrants entered Europe via the
Mediterranean Sea in 2015, and more than 158,000 have arrived so far
this year. The majority of them are from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq,
according to data from the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR).

The study also finds there are widespread negative views of Muslims
across Europe, particularly in the south and east. More than 60 percent
of those surveyed in Hungary, Italy, Poland and Greece said they had an
unfavorable view of Muslims. Negative views of Muslims have increased in
the U.K., Spain and Italy in the past year; and older persons, those
with less education and people who identify as political conservatives
across the countries surveyed are more likely to have negative views of

However, the percentage of the people who said they believed most or
many Muslims in their countries support militant organizations like the
Islamic State group (ISIS) is less than half in all 10 nations surveyed.

Roma migrants are also viewed unfavorably—in many cases, worse than
Muslims; on average, 48 percent of respondents have a negative view of
Roma. Since 2015, negative views of Roma have increased in Spain, the
U.K. and Germany.

refugees_europe_attitudes_0711  Migrants and refugees beg Macedonian
policemen to allow passage to cross the border from Greece into
Macedonia during a rainstorm, near the Greek village of Idomeni, on
September 10, 2015.   Yannis Behrakis/Reuters  

Fear of terrorism is far more widespread among supporters of two of
Europe’s far-right political parties than other political groups. In the
U.K., 87 percent of U.K. Independence Party supporters said they
believed refugees will increase the likelihood of terrorism, compared
with 39 percent of Labour Party supporters and 60 percent of
Conservative voters. In France, 85 percent of National Front supporters
believed terrorism will increase, compared with 58 percent of
republicans and 31 percent of socialists.

The study also looked at European attitudes toward cultural differences,
concluding that “relatively few Europeans believe diversity has a
positive impact on their countries,” and that they are divided on what
national identity means. Nearly all—97 percent—of respondents across all
10 countries said being able to speak the national language is very or
somewhat important to a sense of national identity.

Based on four criteria about what defines national identity—speaking the
national language; sharing customs and traditions; being born in the
survey country; and being a Christian—Greece is the most exclusionary
country on the list, while Sweden is the most welcoming, according to
the study.

In the U.K., Sweden and Spain, around one-third of respondents said more
cultural diversity—an increasing number of people of many different
races, ethnic groups and nationalities—is favorable, but in “no nation
does a majority say increasing diversity is a positive for their

The European attitudes toward cultural diversity discovered by Pew are
“very different” to that of Americans, according to the study. In March,
Pew polled Americans and found that 58 percent said having more people
of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds is a good thing and makes
the U.S. a better place to live. Just 7 percent of Americans said
diversity makes life worse; Spain, meanwhile, is closest to the U.S.
among the European countries, with 22 percent echoing that statement.



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